Aurora ORB-ealis??

This blog entry is by our Mainer in Exile – Carrie.  She’s currently living in Alaska.

On a VERY cold October night in Valdez, Alaska two friends of mine and I decided to head out on our own little adventure. Being newbies to Alaska, we wanted to go out and do the touristy thing and view the Northern Lights while trying to capture the beauty and mystery of them on film.  But what we saw with our own eyes and DIDN’T catch on film, is something none of us will forget.

For a few weeks prior to our Northern Lights adventure we monitored the Aurora Borealis Notifications Facebook page, and website. They give you information on when and where your best chances of seeing the Northern Lights would be. Being here in Valdez, a remote little town in South Central Alaska, we had to wait for the Northern Lights to come to us because driving anywhere else to view them wouldn’t be an option. Finally there was a report that the lights would be in our area so that day we got our cameras ready and checked the weather to see how many layers we’d have to wear under our winter jackets and waited until 10:30 pm that night to head out.  The viewing center said the lights would start to appear around 11:30.

After brewing up hot coffee, getting some snacks together and packing up our truck we decided to start down by the Valdez Glacier. Located on the outskirts of town and down a dirt road, we thought this would be our best chance to see the lights. It’s dark out there with no interference from the lights from town. We parked the truck in the middle of the Glacier field and got our cameras set up. Then we turned off our headlamps and waited for the lights to make their appearance over the snow capped mountains.  It was dark. I mean REALLY dark.  We couldn’t help but be spooked and wonder, out loud, why we, three woman, were out here all alone in the dark in the middle of nowhere by ourselves. The feeling that we were being watched from the darkness all around us was overwhelming.

To lighten the mood, I made a few Bigfoot jokes that my friends didn’t find too funny. And my friend Jessica made a few Grizzly bear jokes that made us all realize, all joking aside, that while there may not be a Bigfoot around, there certainly COULD be a grizzly nearby. I grabbed my bear spray from the truck and clipped it to my jacket and my friend Morgan decided that her bear gun would be of more use to us on her hip than it would in the glovebox. Feeling sufficiently armed against hungry grizzlies, we finally looked to the skies.

It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life… and we weren’t even seeing the Northern Lights yet! The stars! Have you ever been to a planetarium? It was like being in the biggest planetarium I have ever been in.  360 degrees of pure stars! I never knew there were so many stars in the sky! Then we saw our first glimpse of the Northern Lights. Just a faint green tint over the mountain top. We spun our tri-pods to point in that direction and we snapped away. Our pictures didn’t come out too great. Taking pics of the Northern lights is quite the art form! And it’s not like you can practice doing it on a daily basis!

We decided to change locations because it looked as if the lights were being blocked out by the nearby mountain. We needed to get on the other side of that mountain.  We packed the truck back up and got ready to head out. Once my friends were safely in the truck I decided to let out one Bigfoot call… just for fun! My call was sounded more like a dying chicken than a Bigfoot which probably explains why the response I got back sounded like it was from a coyote. Not the response I was hoping for but pretty cool none-the-less. My friends thought I was a nut job!

We drove around for awhile “chasing” the lights without much luck. The coffee was gone. The Pepperidge Farm white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies were gone. We were cold and tired. We decided to call it a night. As we were heading home, we were driving near another road that takes us back down to the glacier and we could see the lights bright as day! We pulled down the road and found a great place to park the truck and set up our cameras. Once we got the cameras all set up we jumped back in the truck to keep warm while we waited for the lights to appear again. As we waited and I stared at the snow covered road in front of us, I couldn’t help but feel a little spooked out again. I looked around at our surroundings and I couldn’t see much. The sky was clear and the stars were shining brightly enough to give everything around us an eerie glow. Other than that, it was dark. I didn’t want to tell my friends that I was a little creeped out and that the feeling of being watched was there again. My two friends are not paranormal investigators and being creeped out is not a comfortable feeling for them. For me, it’s one of my favorite feelings. For me, it means that there may be ghosties around!        That’s when you need to pull out your voice recorder or your ghost box!

Just as I was mentally kicking myself for not bringing my paranormal investigation kit with me on this excursion, I saw the THING that this whole blog is about. The THING that has left me wondering what the heck I saw that night! The THING that has now turned my skeptic of a friend into a true believer. The THING that scared my other friend so much that she will not go out on the back roads of Valdez at night ever again….. And no. It wasn’t a Yeti, or a grizzly or an alien (well maybe it could have been that?). It was something else.

We were sitting in the truck. I was in the passenger seat. My friend Jessica was in the back seat, behind the drivers seat and my friend Morgan was in the driver’s seat. I was looking out the windshield at my surroundings, and like I said before, I was mentally kicking myself, when I saw to my left, a bright light flash. It was about 15 feet in front of us, low to the ground on the side of the road. It was quick but VERY bright! Just as I was about to say “did you see that?! “, Jessica said “What the heck was that?”  We all saw it and agreed that we saw the same thing. A bright flash of light. Like a camera flash but it was in the shape of a ball and tinted a light blue color. My friends were totally freaked out. I tried to make them feel better by joking that it was probably a Sasquatch trying to get a picture of US. But that didn’t help. So, being the paranormal investigator of the group, and the one not freaked out but amazed by what I saw, I got right out of the truck ready to debunk this. I checked our cameras, which were on the right side of the truck, and made sure our flashes were off. (You can’t use a flash to capture the Northern Lights). Flashes were off. Then I looked at the spot on the road where the light appeared. Nothing there but a snow bank. No footprints in the snow. Nowhere on the other side of the snow bank for a person to hide… it was all snow and woods and mountains. Nothing shiny on the ground to reflect a light. We were far down a snow covered dirt road far from town. Far enough away from other roads that lights from a passing car on another road could not be seen. Not to mention, we were literally surrounded by mountains. I could find no logical explanation for the light we saw. (I even went back the next day in the daylight to see the area and recheck for anything I might have missed in the dark. I knew were I was in the exact spot from the night before because I could see our tire tracks and foot prints in the snow.)

I wanted to stay and look around some more but my friends were ready to get the heck out of there. They were so freaked out in fact, that I unassembled all the tri-pods and cameras and put them back in the truck myself. They wouldn’t get out. On the ride home they both admitted that they felt like there was something there before they saw the light.

That night I didn’t sleep at all. I started to wonder if there is some correlation between the Northern Lights and spirit activity. And I wondered if what my friends and I saw was some sort of a form of a spirit manifestation.

I did some research and I found out that Alaskan natives thought that the Northern Lights were actually spirits coming down to earth. That when the Northern lights were out, you’d be able to see the sprits of the dead. Of course, thanks to Science, now we know what the Northern Lights are and why they occur.

(Here’s a link to an easy to understand explanation  - )

In a nutshell, it has to do with the Earth’s Magnetic field. And what is a theory as to how ghosts appear? They use magnetic fields?? Why wouldn’t paranormal activity be greater during Northern Lights displays? I cannot say that what I saw was a spirit. Nor can I say it wasn’t. All I can say is that what  my friends and I saw that night was not something that could easily be explained. I am still searching for answers!

Click to share thisClick to share this